Saturday, 7 February 2015

How to start Customers Experience Mapping

Maps are great, aren’t they? There are maps on your phone to keep you from getting lost or stuck in traffic, historical maps that look beautiful framed as artwork, and even guidebook maps that show exotic place to visit. Unfortunately, the map your company needs most is one you might not have: a customer experience map. 


How do I know this? Our recent study of b-to-b companies in the U.S. and EMEA showed that while 64 percent of b-to-b companies have some kind of customer experience function, they don’t have those functions create experience maps. In fact, just 43 percent of those are doing customer experience mapping at all. 

This lack of mapping is a big problem. How can a company deliver a great experience without a comprehensive view of what’s happening and what needs to change? Perhaps those who have been through a mapping process in the past are scared off by how big and complicated that process may have been. The good news is that experience mapping doesn’t have to be scary, and now is the perfect time to get started on it. 

It’s so important to bring mapping into the organization as a customer experience skill. Just like Google Maps made life easy for those of us who did a lousy job navigating with fold-up paper maps in the past, taking a fresh look at new methods for customer experience mapping can help organizations fearful of mapping get back on the road to better retention, loyalty and advocacy.  

Let’s start with a definition: Customer experience mapping is the first step toward taking stock of customer experience activities and communicating across the organization to promote better understanding among all contributing functions. 

Customer experience mapping in b-to-b is different from b-to-c (where examples tend to be more easily found). The b-to-b customer experience is more complex for the following reasons: the significant post-purchase presence of sales and/or partners, the need to map interactions for multiple roles within customer accounts and buying centers, frequent inconsistencies in the delivery of experience, and inconsistent availability and accuracy of data. 

This complexity requires more than one type of map to solve different problems or goals: 

  • Inventory map. Often the first map to create if you’re just getting started, an inventory map presents information about a broad range of activities across the customer lifecycle for a specific customer role. The map can be used as an internal resource for prioritizing experience changes, or an external resource to help experts or consultants to understand the current state before recommending changes. An inventory map can reflect the current state of customer experience or the planned future state; a complete mapping process includes both current and future-state versions. Starting with a basic list view (e.g. an Excel spreadsheet) can prevent spending a lot of unnecessary time creating boxes and arrows when what’s needed initially is an overall view of who is doing what and when, and how well it’s working today from the customer’s view. Don’t make mapping harder than it needs to be.
  • Activity map. This type of map presents a process view of a specific activity (e.g. placing a service call) or related group of activities (e.g. customer onboarding) to help the organization understand what is happening from the customer’s point of view. It can also be used to provide an internal view of current processes for delivering these activities, which is often a great way to understand what’s working and what is not. Like an inventory map, an activity map can reflect the current state of the activity or the planned future state. Use this type of map to take a deeper look at aspects of experience that need attention based on findings from the inventory map process. In other words, if it ain’t broke, don’t process map it. Put your energy into what needs it – and avoid mapping for the sake of mapping.
  • Data capture/structure map. This type of map, which can be built within an inventory or activity map, shows the capture, flow, storage and use of data during the customer experience. It can reflect just one customer process or the entire experience for a given customer role. Use this type of map to identify and resolve issues (e.g. finding places where information is collected and not shared, or where multiple systems are part of process that needs to be streamlined.

Each of these maps can help customer experience and other teams (e.g. customer marketing) get a solid understanding of what needs to be done. They also literally provide a picture for the rest of the organization to help them understand as well. It’s powerful thing to know where you are, where you’re going and what it will take to get there.

The difference between BPM and Case Management

This question hinges on a clear understanding of traditional flow-chart oriented BPM for which there is some widespread confusion. As you read responses to this question, keep in mind that many people confuse BPM (which is a management practice) with BPM Suite (which is a technological product to support the practice). Many BPM Suites support not only the practice of BPM, but many other management practices as well, and this confuses the entire discussion. For discussion, we should use the updated, One Common Definition for BPM.

Traditional BPM is a management practice that views the “process” as the most important organizing theme. A practitioner of traditional BPM talks about “optimizing a process”. In order to optimize a process, there must be a concrete representation of a given process; it must be useful for many individual instances of the process; you must be able to measure how good this process is in abstract from a given case. Traditional BPM is a practice of perfecting that process is for the purpose of supporting of future cases. This only works if you have confidence that future cases will be like the cases of the past that you are measuring the process against. In short, the process must be predictable. Traditional BPM is based on mass production principles: the up front investment that you make in perfecting the process, is paid back in a increase in efficiency over many instances of the process.

Case Management is a technique that is useful when processes are not repeatable. A case represents a situation without necessarily requiring a process. Case management can be used for one-off situations for which the process can not be predicted in advance. A practitioner of case management needs a different kind of support: instead of tools to aid in the elaborate design and optimization of a process up front, a case manager need a way to communicate goals and intent. There is no point in investing a lot of up front effort in designing an optimized process — because it is unlikely to fit the situation, and unlikely to pay back the up front investment — so instead the investment is in information tools and capabilities that can be used directly by the case manager on demand: such as information collecting tools, and communications resources.  In short, case management is useful when the process is unpredictable, or at least not repeatable enough to warrant the up front investment in perfecting the process.

The two approaches are very different:

  • Sherlock Holmes will use a case management approach, not a traditional BPM approach, when solving a case.
  • Bank of America will use a traditional BPM approach, not a case management approach, to support signing up people for new regular accounts.
  • Admiral Thad Allen will use a case management approach, not a traditional BPM approach, when responding to the oil disaster.
  • Amazon will use a traditional BPM approach, not a case management approach, to handling sales of common books.

To say that these approaches are the same, because they both help to get work done, ignores the very essence of traditional BPM and case management. Yes, they are both techniques to help accomplish work, but they achieve this result through different means.

Some will say that even in case management since ultimately a sequence of activities is performed, that this is a “process”. Yes, you can view that retrospectively as a process, but not one that has been or can be “improved or optimized” in any way similar to the practice of traditional BPM. Yes, it is true that the case manager gets better over time, because they learn their job. But to argue that all learning is actually “traditional, flow-chart oriented BPM” stretches the definition of a flowchart too far to be useful. Traditional, flow-chart oriented BPM remains important as a distinct practice of defining, measuring, and optimizing a process in abstract from a given case, for use in future cases.

This has nothing to do with any vendor’s product. I am not making a sales pitch here. Those that say their favorite BPMS can do all of this are simply pointing out that these two management practices can be supported with similar technology – and many products will support both approaches. But remember, traditional, flow-chart oriented BPM, and Adaptive Case Management are not technology, not products. They are both approaches to managing work

Case Management styles

Understanding Case Management Styles for Business Results

Business results can be enhanced by understanding the different styles of case management and where to apply them. Better yet understanding that the styles can be used in combination for optimal outcomes. If fact case styles can be combined with traditional modeled process snippets or master flows for value / supply chains. I have identified and used three types of styles in the past and they have helped me craft better end to end processes. Any of these styles support emerging or unstructured process flows to some degree in that sequencing is influenced by milestones more than step sequences.

Content Driven Case Management:

This style of case management revolves around the first mile of content capture and verification. Advanced uses of this style can present various forms of content (forms, images, voice & video) to a group of collaborative data entry or case handlers or processors. There are fixed milestones to attain for completion. There is significant benefit in getting the content correct the first time and there are a number of vendors who focus on this style of case management.

Knowledge Collaboration Case Management:

This style of case management is about resolving a case leveraging multiple skill-sets or multiple knowledge worlds usually represented by many collaborative knowledge workers. Advanced knowledge collaboration will consider the skills necessary to complete the case and involve the proper skills and knowledge in an optimal fashion. Again there are fixed milestones involved with this type of case management. The benefit of solving complex cases leveraging the right skills and knowledge is huge for a number of business and public sector cases.

Adaptive Case Management (ACM):

ACM is an advanced form of case management that allows for dynamic milestones, unlike the other two styles above. ACM is for truly emergent processes that are being crafted on the fly from beginning to end. Activities and steps swarm around changing conditions and support the highest degree of unstructured work patterns. These patterns can be later analyzed for better practices and more predictable milestones. ACM is the latest style to emerge out of business process management and the number of vendors that support this style are few.

Net; Net: 

As organizations try to assist or automate work streams, multiple styles of case come in handy as tools in the process & case tool box. It is rare today to have only one style of case and process type and it is even rarer to find one vendor that can support all styles, but it's is happening in ACM and other intelligent business process management systems.

Examples of BPM in different sectors

Business process management (BPM) can be applied in many different ways, depending on the sector in which it is being used. The benefits of BPM have the capacity to impact virtually every department within an organization, especially when highly trained personnel are in charge of implementing an enterprise-wide BPM solution.

Consider the many benefits of BPM in the following sectors and functional areas:

  • Human Resources

    BPM workflows lend themselves easily to commonly used human resource (HR) applications, such as vacation requests, training requests, recruitment, termination, certification management and employee performance reviews. By incorporating BPM into HR activities, the associated business processes can be conducted more quickly, efficiently and consistently. In addition, BPM ensures that management has ready access to that information required to make important business decisions.
  • Finance and Purchasing

    In order for a company to maximize profitability, proper management of financial assets is essential. BPM has proven to be extremely effective in managing purchases, tracking expenses, and monitoring subcontractors and suppliers. An effective BPM system makes it easy to coordinate and oversee critical business activities such as purchase requisitions, billing and invoicing, travel requests and reimbursements, budget approvals and collection of payments, among others.
  • Customer Relationship Management

    BPM enables customer relationship management (CRM) teams to solve problems more efficiently and provide customers with the most accurate and up-to-date information. It’s important for a BPM solution to integrate seamlessly with the marketing, sales and support systems within a company. When properly implemented, a BPM package can organize and automate activities such as new customer acquisition, service call management, customer complaint resolution, help desk requests, credit approvals, fraud assessment and task management.
  • Sales and Marketing

    A well-designed BPM solution has the ability to support a company’s sales and marketing teams by providing them with process-driven applications that save valuable resources and time. It can also streamline the pre-sale process, provide prospective customers with prompt answers, and enable employees to quickly respond to changing customer demands. Examples of sales and marketing BPM workflows include customer inquiries, promotional campaigns, product launches and sales process management, as well as developing, responding to and approving proposals and bids.
  • Research and Development

    BPM provides a reliable infrastructure for the effective management of research and development (R&D) processes. A company’s product and service offerings must be dynamic, flexible and able to adjust to the needs of the market, and BPM helps accomplish that by reducing or eliminating re-work costs and minimizing the time it takes to bring new products to market. BPM workflows typically include popular R&D applications such as feature and change requests, bug tracking and schedule management.

Understanding the potential benefits of BPM can help you pinpoint and prioritize business areas that offer the greatest return.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Lean Maximo implementation

Are you a business partner who implements Maximo and is looking for ways to differentiate your services?  Are you a customer thinking about implementing Maximo and you want to get to fast ROI?  Does 60 minutes seem ridiculous?  A couple of years ago you would have been right.  It was ridiculous to think you could have the most powerful asset management platform software running with industry best practices and your data in an hour.  Today, it’s possible. 


OK, let’s be real.  Will Maximo be fully configured with all of your business processes and 20 years of historical data in an hour?  Of course not but here’s what you really can have - core Maximo Enterprise Asset Management, a work management system, an inventory management system, a purchasing system, a starting point for your failure codes, and some classifications.  These are the basics that nearly every Maximo client wants and every Maximo implementer knows how to do but, because Maximo is shipped as a platform where you can build your business processes as you see fit, getting those processes built takes time.


Let’s have a look at the old way.  You install Maximo and you can probably get through this in a day.  Then you start analyzing the business processes for work management.  What are the various roles and approvals needed?  What person groups are needed, what actions need to be performed, what escalations need to occur?  Generally this can take months of interviews with company team members and documentation to support the processes.  Finally, you have a specification and the processes can be developed in Maximo. Six weeks after you install the product, you may perform your first work management task.  Now do it again for purchasing and again for inventory.  Oh, and then there is data loading.  Over thirty years of development and thousands of implementers, the chances that every implementer loads client template and history data the same are slim to none.  Some still hold on to the old SQL backend loading approach that leaves business rules and data validation out of the picture.  Some use the Integration Framework requiring system configurations to load data.  Some use web services.  Once the method is determined, it’s a matter of collecting and formatting the data in preparation for the load.  All of this implementation work holds with it a certain amount of risk.  You essentially have a one-off configured system that is designed for just your business but as any technology specialist will attest, configurations like this are never right the first time.  They require testing and tweaking to get it right.


Now let’s have a look at the 60 Minute Maximo Implementation approach.  Maximo now has the ability to load content packs we call “Process Content Packs” or PCPs.  A PCP can contain things like roles, workflows, escalations and much more.  This means, we have the ability to define industry common or best practices and develop them as PCPs.  Since it turns out, this core functionality is common to a large swath of our clients, we can bypass the interviews and documentation (at least in the short run) and just load the base functionality.  To add to this, we develop our PCPs so that they can be built upon  so, you can load the PCP and it is immediately a functional work management, purchasing, or inventory system and then you can modify or expand it to meet the requirements of your specific business process.  OK so you installed the product in one day and you installed the PCPs in a few minutes to a few hours.  What about the client template and historical data?  Well, it turns out we have a new tool that uses web services to load client data through the business objects so the data can be validated.  To build on this tool, we have developed a series of templates so that a client can collect and populate their data in the templates before they even purchase the product.  This means on day one of the implementation they are ready to go. 


Imagine shaving 90% off of the implementation time it takes to get to some basic ROI?  Imagine what this could mean to a Software as a Service (SaaS) implementation?  As a business partner or Maximo implementer, imagine what new and great functionality you could develop for your clients if you weren’t burning your hours creating core functionality? It’s all possible, it’s all real, and it’s happening.


Find it here:



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